I don’t blame you for not noticing, but the Championship Series kick off tomorrow in the National League and Friday in the American League. And while it’s easy (and fun) to pout about the Sox’ absence from this (and pretty much every) year’s baseball semi-finals, we here on 35th Street are still tuning in and taking notes. Does anyone around here have a vested emotional interest in baseball anymore? No, of course not, but as Sox fans we also know to look to the future. Today’s winner is yesterday’s team the Sox couldn’t compete with; tomorrow’s champion is next year’s top-flight free agent we can all forget about ever seeing on the South Side until years after they’d be of any use.
Wait, tell me again: why am I still paying attention?
NLCS: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Let no one even dare try to convince you otherwise (and having been to quite a few of the other contenders for the title I can say this with some authority): Los Angeles, in every way imaginable, is the worst city on Earth. I have seen the horrifying slums of Calcutta and the back alleys of Detroit; I have seen the forgotten, ruined wastelands of the southwest and I have seen the unspeakable things even this city does to itself, and I can still say without reservation that Los Angeles shames them all in every way imaginable. And normally things like multi-level bankruptcy, oppressive pollution, and idiotic urban planning would trump anything any other city could do for (and to) itself. But. given the circumstances, Philadelphia actually takes municipal self-shaming to a low even L.A. can’t reach.
Most people, out of jest or out of civic-minded worry, would probably counter that Baltimore, Trenton, Camden or someplace along those lines cast a more miserable lot than Philly, but those people would overlook one crucial fact: the people of those cities never gave Michael Vick a standing ovation as a way of saying “thanks for doing time and killing all those dogs.” Make no mistake, Philadelphia has plenty going for it and I advise everyone reading this to head out that way at least once in their lives, but (to borrow the words of a friend of mine), “I never want anything good to happen to Philadelphia sports fans ever again.”
Endorsement: Dodgers. Go Jim!
ALCS: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. New York Yankees
See the NLCS preview above, but replace “Los Angeles” with “New York” and “Michael Vick” with anyone listed in item #4here.
Endorsement: Angels. I don’t care what people say, Mike Scioscia is not the Lou Piniella of the American League West ever since Lou Piniella left the American League West.